Top tips to help you land a job as a cyber security analyst
The growing importance of cyber security means that organisations are investing more in their defences than ever – threats have simply become too damaging and disruptive to ignore. This has led to a rise in the demand for cyber security professionals, particularly cyber security analysts.
Cyber analysts play a crucial role in protecting businesses by preventing, monitoring, and responding to threats, and are employed directly by medium to large businesses as well as specialist providers delivering outsourced security operations centre services. Cyber security specialist, Redscan says:
“Threat hunters are the cyber security professionals tasked with performing threat hunting. Using a combination of manual and machine assisted techniques, threat hunters search for indicators of compromise (IOCs) across an organisation’s IT environment.”
If you are interested in pursuing a career as a security analyst, here are ten top tips that could help you land your dream role.
1. Improve your underlying IT knowledge
To land a job in cyber security, it’s important to have a good underlying knowledge of IT and networking. Knowing how networks are architected will improve your job chances. As will improving your knowledge of common Internet applications and protocols such as TCP/IP.
2. Closely follow security news
It can’t be understated how important it is for cyber security analysts to have an up-to-date knowledge of cyber security threats. This means that you need to get into the habit of following the latest security news. This will not only help you to better your understanding of the latest threats, but also how criminals could target the organisations that you are interested in applying to.
3. Study for an industry qualification
If you want to demonstrate to an employer that you are serious about pursuing a career in cyber security, then you should have obtained or at least be working towards an industry-recognised qualification. This shows not only that you are keen to work in the industry, but also that you are committed to developing your skills. CompTIA Security+ and CISSP are great entry-level qualifications for budding cyber security analysts.
4. Learn a language
5. Create your own test environment
Of course, there is only so much that you can learn from a textbook. It is essential to get some hands-on experience and to do so, you’ll need an environment that is safe to mess around in. Never test hacking or analysis tools against an organisation without consent. Doing so could get you into all sorts of trouble.
Fortunately, it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to set up some older PCs with an inexpensive wireless router. The router is likely to have a network switch, firewall, and DHCP server to configure and test. There is also a huge range of open-source tools to experiment with.
6. Test your skills
Put your skills to the test by taking advantage of some of the great resources and challenges available online. A fantastic example of this is the Cyber Security Challenge which will help you test and develop your knowledge of network infrastructure and web application security.
7. Network with prospective employers
You should spend some time networking and talking to people in the industry. It is hugely beneficial to visit industry events, as a way to meet people and ask questions. Consider joining an organisation such as the Institute for Information Security Professionals, which holds regular meetings for members.
8. Obtain relevant work experience
Having actual work experience will always help your CV to stand out from the crowd. Apply for any kind of cyber security work experience you can, or get in touch with employers that offer apprenticeship schemes that will enable you to work and study simultaneously.
9. Develop ‘soft’ skills
Remember that employers are not only looking for people with excellent technical skills – they are also looking for strong communicators. Developing your problem solving and decision-making skills will really help you to stand out.
10. Don’t have unrealistic expectations
It is often the case that people hoping to land a job in cyber security have unrealistic expectations. Many people see the salaries earned by professional ethical hackers and expect to receive a large paycheque from day one. Like most careers, your earnings will be commensurate with your level of experience, which will need to be gradually built up over time.
- Redscan - https://www.redscan.com/services/managed-detection-and-response/cyber-threat-hunting/
- Cyber Security Challenge - https://www.cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk/